Category Archives: Other Systems

I’ve Got That Zelda Feeling, Whoa oh oh Yeah…

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best games I’ve played in a decade, if not ever.  The game rewards exploration and experimentation with weapons, abilities, items, etc. that I haven’t really seen in another game.  

Anyways, I could gush on the game all day- but if you’re interested in it, here’s a great review by Previously Recorded (these dudes are part of Red Letter Media).  

Anyways, I was taking a shower and washing my bits and baubles (nice image there) and started pondering how I would handle damage and HP if I wanted to capture that feel of Zelda mechanics. 

Here’s the rough idea (completely untested).

Attributes

I’d use the standard attributes from D&D: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.  Players would roll 2d6+5 for each stat.  This would result in more competent characters than traditional OSR, but hey- this is Zelda.

Hit Points

Traditional hit points are gone.  Instead each character starts with three hearts.  These hearts, as per normal hit points, represent your vitality and how much damage you can take.  Hearts have three levels: Full, Half, and Empty.  When you reach zero hearts, you are dead.   More on damage below.


Mechanics

I’d like to keep it simple- roll under, same as The Black Hack or Into the Odd.  

Things I Can Do

A character can take two actions per round.  They can move twice, attack twice, move and attack, look through their pack and take a potion, use an ability from an item twice, etc. 

Initiative

Roll 1d20.  Who ever gets the lowest result goes first.  Then proceed in numerical order.  

Combat and Damage

For melee attacks and defense, the player would need to roll under their Strength.  For ranged attacks and defense, the player would need to roll under their Dexterity.  

Weapons would be broken down into five categories: Small (dagger, throwing star/knives, shiv, etc.: 1 die); Light (short sword, bow, club, boomerang, etc.: 2 dice); Medium (long bow, bastard sword, crossbow, warhammer, etc.: 3 dice); Heavy (two-handed: great axe, great sword, falchion, spear, halberd, etc.: 3 dice); Large (weapons for larger creatures- must be held in two hands, giant axe, giant sword, etc.: 4 dice); Siege Weapons and Explosives (ballista, catapult, bomb arrow, bombs, etc.: 5 dice). 

When a target is hit by an attack, roll a number of d6’s indicated by the weapon type.  If the result is even, that means 1 full heart of damage.  If the result is odd, that means 1/2 heart of damage.  

For Example: Link is wielding a longsword and a shield and in combat with a bokoblin and successfully rolls under his Strength, meaning he rolls three 1d6’s for damage.  Link’s player rolls 3d6 and gets: 4, 1, and 3; meaning that the bokoblin takes two full hearts of damage (out of four).  

Powerful Foes

Some enemies are super beefy (bosses, magically enhanced creatures, etc.) and pack more punch.  After a Powerful Foe rolls damage, they can pick up any dice that are an odd number and reroll them, attempting to get an even number.  This can only be done once per attack.  

Armor

Armor offers protection against damage from a foe’s blade.  The heavier the armor, the more damage can be potentially absorbed.  However, the heavier the armor, the slower the characters moves or perform delicate tasks).  Armor is broken into three categories: Light (Absorption: 1 die; Move: Normal; Dexterity Penalty: None); Medium (Absorption: 2 dice; Move: -5 ft; Dexterity Penalty: +1d6); Heavy (Absorption: 3 dice; Move: -10 ft; Dexterity Penalty: +1d8).  

When struck by an attack, roll a number of d6’s indicated by the armor being worn.  Compare the results to the attackers.  Each Even and Odd cancels out one of the attackers. 

For Example: After Link successfully attacked the bokoblin, it quickly retaliated, hitting Link with its jagged club (3 dice of damage).  The GM rolls 3d6 and gets: 4, 4, and 1, meaning Link would suffer 2 1/2 hearts of damage (out of his five).  However, Link is wearing medium armor, meaning he gets to roll 2d6, getting a 4 and 3.  One of the bokoblins even and odd rolls are canceled out!  Link only suffers 1 heart of damage.

The Armor Penalties

The heavier the armor, the more it impedes your character in several ways.  First, you move slower.  Characters can move 30′ per round (or 90′ with a full sprint). Second, armor makes it harder to move around and perform delicate tasks.  When attempting to sneak, climb, pick a lock, etc. you roll 1d20 + the Penalty Die and attempt to get under your attribute.  This penalty die is added to initiative rolls.  The penalty die does not affect Dexterity rolls for attacks and dodging.  

Starting Gear

Into the Odd has a great character starting package.  I’d do something similar to that- give each character a goal, quirk, one single special ability, and starting gear.  Then it’s go time.

Leveling Up

There would be zero traditional leveling up in the game.  Everything would be earned through exploration and playing.  Going through mazes, shrines, etc. would grant boons from Priests, monks, etc. gaining hearts or increasing an attribute.  

Magical items would increase attributes while worn (or consumed), grant special abilities, and so on.  All the rewards would be given through these means rather than through an arbitrary experience system. 

Money would be important for new gear, arrows, etc.   

Cooking Food

Food and potions would be paramount to healing, staving off diseases, etc.  Everyone can attempt to cook.  Ingredients would be separated into: Poor (Odd result only); Normal (1 Die); Excellent (2 Dice). 

When cooking the player rolls the number of dice indicated by the ingredient category.  If the result is Odd, that heals half a heart; Even, a full heart.  The character can toss up to five ingredients into a pot at once. 

If a character has seasoning salt (or whatever the fuck you want to call it), after the result of the roll has been determined, the character can pick up any dice that are an odd number and reroll them, attempting to get an even number.  This can only be done once per dish.  

For Example: Link has two apples (poor), flour (good), and honey (excellent).  He throws them in a pot with seasoning salt to simmer.  The player rolls 3d6 (for the good and excellent ingredients) and gets 1, 1, 4 (plus the odd result for the apple), resulting in 2 1/2 hearts that would be restored by this dish.  However, because of the seasoning salt, Link’s character can reroll the two 1’s in the hopes of getting even numbers.  

In Conclusion

This all popped in my damned head this AM while showering and turned into this as I was jotting down notes… Heh, I think I gotta a little carried away.  Hope ya enjoyed it!

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Bar Nowhere for Death is the New Pink by Gennifer Bone

One of the many projects that I am currently working on is a Death is the New Pink zine (that will come out whenever I plan on releasing)- total punk rock-style!

Note: There’s a killer character sheet for DitNP here.

When I was writing stuff for a DitNP session I was listening to Lone Digger by Caravan Palace (see the video below) and dug the feel of it for a glitzy dive bar.  Also I was watching season 1 and 2 of Killjoys.  I love the character, Pree.  He’s funny and rambunctious and a badass.

I wanted to steal that zest for the bartender/owner for my DitNP location.

Pree

Pree was a big inspiration for the character.

 

Anyways, when I decided to start writing the first issue of the zine, I wanted to include the bar.  I also wanted to make the character transgender.

Instead of me writing a transgender character, being a straight white CIS male, I wanted to hire the awesome Gennifer Bone to do so!

So here is her art and words!  Enjoy!

Bar Nowhere

Bar FINAL

Siouxsie Khan by Gennifer Bone

 

On the outskirts of Scratchtown, hugging the wall that separate the dangerous wilderness of the Wasted World from the “civilization”, you can find Bar Nowhere. Built within the shell of a concrete dome, the Bar has no sign, though you can always identify the place by the garish neon light shining through the single window. Bar Nowhere is typical for a Wastlands pub- a bar, some chairs, a smattering of scrounged and home-brewed hootch. An old jukebox plays eccletic tunes. It’s the lady behind the counter, backlight by the huge “Bar” sign, that makes Bar Nowhere different.

She’s a tall, strong woman of Asian desent. She’s never seen without perfect hair, perfect makeup, perfect clothes, and her signature pipe. She’s Siouxsie Khan. A smart and well-connected woman, she’s known for either having the info you need, or knowing who to talk to to get it. A pleasant, charismatic sort, Siouxsie is a consumate bartender. She turns down any propostions with a wink and a smile.

Some newcomers stare at her broad shoulders, or comment on her deep voice. These newcomers get one warning- “Siouxise Khan is who and what she says she is.” Continuing to comment (or worse, laugh) is trouble- she’s an excellent fighter, backed up by the Clairance, the bouncer. (A huge man wearing a metal mask, who rarely speaks)

Siouxsie only talks about her trans*(MtF) status with people she trusts.

Siouxsie runs a good bar, a peaceful bar. All the locals know that Bar Nowhere is neutral ground- no fighting. One time, a trio of bandits decided to throw down in Siouxsie’s place. With a press of a button, they were ripped apart by drone guns hidden in the walls. Then she had their friends clean up the mess.

 

As the local’s say, “Nowhere’s like Nowhere”.

 

Hooks and Rumors

1) Siouxsie Khan has decided that she’s ready to match her body to her identity. The Meat Bags are hired to travel to a far Medical Research Lab, to retrieve a robot device- the Bio-Remix-Transmographier (B.R.T., or Bert). It has the ability to remake any living thing, so changing Siouxsie’s physical sex should be easy. The journey will not be easy, and when the Meat Bags finally get their, they will find that Bert, who has the mind and personality of a child, has been using it’s abilities to make “friends”. Some truly gnarly mutants wander the lab.

If sucessful the Meat Bags will be well-compensated, Siouxsie closes the bar for a week for the gender alteration(she won’t look any differet, she likes her looks, after all), and Bert does a brisk business altering Meat Bags for profit(gender alteration is free to select customers).

2) Nobody knows how Siouxsie gets her infomation- she rarely leaves Bar Nowhere. There are a few who would pay well for her secret. (Her secret is a military-grade radio\descrambler and spy drone comp in a chamber deep below the bar)

3) A persistant rumor claims that Bar Nowhere sits above an underground military bunker, full of weapons and supplies! (Looks to be true, but the way in behind the Radio Room was blocked off by a cave in years ago)

4) Siouxsie loves gifts. Meat Bags may want to search the ruins for a suitable gift, or are hired to find one. (she loves beauty supplies and fine dresses, both a rarity in the Wastes). She is willing to trade valuable information for quality goods.

5) Siouxsie’s estranged family have come calling! A ruthless, well-organized band has appeared, demanding that she “return home, and cease this shameful life”. Naturally, her allies rally to her defence- This looks like all-out war! Meat Bags may be hired by Siouxsie, to protect the bar, or by the Khan family, to assult it. They may even be called upon to mediate between the two parties!


The First Gathox Vertical Slum Module is Out! Beware of QUAKE ALLEY MAYHEM!!

David Lewis Johnson put on his mad cap and turned the metal up to 11 for the first module for Gathox Vertical Slum through DIY RPG Productions!

Fuck he even did a video!

Oh and I did a blood ritual and was summoned the talented and snuggly Matt Hildebrand to shred out the layout on this beast!

And lo’ there was QUAKE ALLEY MAYHEM!

Note: Currently the book is only available in PDF form.  We are waiting to hear back on the recent submission to OBS.  Anyone who purchases the PDF will receive an email through Drivethru with the option to get the POD at the bundle price when its released!

GVS2 master cover art.png

 

Here’s a lil info on the adventure!

Enter a seedy underworld of alien hyper-capitalists and wondrous ancient artifacts with Quake Alley Mayhem! 
This murderous, misshapen module foists a host of traps, puzzles, and environmental hazards upon unsuspecting players in a race against time. Structured for both tournament and campaign play, Quake Alley Mayhem! includes pregenerated characters, supplements to track the party’s progress and impending doom, and hooks to fit the adventure into a larger campaign.Designed for 3 to 6 players of levels 1 – 3 for Gathox Vertical Slum.

 
QUOTES FROM REVIEWS
“The thing I really dig about this module, is there are no rooms in it that are empty.  Every room has a chance for roleplay, a fight, and or a deadly trap.  In other words this isn’t a vanilla dungeon with safe words!” – Shane Ward, 3 Toadstools Publishing
“If you enjoyed Gathox Vertical Slum then you need to get this product. Quake Alley Mayhem is a fun adventure to unleash at a con to show people how wild and crazy adventuring in Gathox can be.” – Brutorz Bill, Green Skeleton Gaming Guild
“The gonzo setting and weird gangs gives the whole enterprise a Heavy Metal magazine feel, or at least a Heavy Metal gloss on a grindhouse film. It’s a very fitting approach and a strong answer to the question “what do you do with Gathox?”” – Trey Causey, From the Sorcerer’s Skull
“Quake Alley Mayhem is compact and punchy. Every room in the dungeon contains something of interest, such as a trap, puzzle, enemy, or all of the above. As was the case with Gathox Vertical Slum, the writing quality is descriptive without being verbose, and appropriately weird for the setting. The artwork is sketchy, grimy, and punk as hell – perfect for the tone of the book. There’s just enough to get the imagination flowing without feeling like it’s just there to take up space between the text sections. Overall, the quality of the book, both writing and illustration, is top notch, and there’s enough to feel substantial for a small tournament module.” – Jesse Goldshear, Yenemvelt: Another World
Let’s see some tasty layout and art!
GVS_QuakeAlleyMayhem_10-11
GVS_QuakeAlleyMayhem_9
GVS_QuakeAlleyMayhem_20
GVS_QuakeAlleyMayhem_16-17a
Oh and we have a character sheet on Drivethru as well!
GVS2 character sheet

Demon City Kickstarter- Yeah it’s a Thing!

Zak Smith has teamed up with Shawn Cheng (a great post by Zak about Shawn), DIY RPG Productions (that’s me) to bring you an excitingly awesome kickstarter for his killer ultimate horror RPG, Demon City!

Why What is this Demon City Book…?  

Let’s watch a quick and cool video (seriously, it’s good).

This book will be a full production, not POD.  It will be high quality awesome and we are really excited to bring this to life!

Zak has done an amazing job creating fresh and innovative rules for running horror games and I look forward to hearing gaming stories about surviving (and dying) in Demon City.

Here’s some flavor text (and way more info at the Kickstarter page):

Murder, corruption, death, whiskey, hate, night, darkness, noise, summoning, possession, car chases, claws, disorder, firearms, glass shattering, bathtubs filled with blood, devoured corpses, tentacles, neon, broken men, fear.

Demon City is Rome, Tokyo, Los Angeles, anywhere, but coming to pieces. No-one gets enough sleep, everyone has three jobs or hasn’t worked in months, the trucks never seem to get where they’re going, the sky always has something in it, elevators creak, cell service sucks, police cars are black, streetlights burn the way an eye burns against an eyelid after staring too long.

A Demon City game can take place anywhere the Host can imagine something terrible happening in the dark, and Demon City players can play anyone doesn’t want it to happen again.

 

And here are some sample pages of how this sexy book will look!

DC_Part4_Demon6thOrder_v4DC_Part4_FoetalGod_v4DC_Part4_ChokingGhost_v4DC_Part4_Lycanthrope_v4DC_Part1_Motives_v4aDC_Part4_Demon3rdOrder_v4DC_Part4_HungryGhost_v4

So yeah…  There’s still a chance for you to get in on this shit!

 


Barbarians of the Ruined Earth- Session Three- The Fight for the Dark Orb, Part 2

When we last left our band of heroes that had just fought a giant mud crab and became depressed by grey snow before making it to the failed human village of Laundr-O-Mat.

Players

Omar- “Tip Toe” Tyron Thompson- Scavenger

Shoe- Medallion- Armadite

Coley- Coleesi- Barbarian

Brian- Sok- Armadillo Beastman

John- Vinsmoke the Sorcerer (Alt Casting Rules)

Unable to Attend

Gene- Beastman

Liam- Ashak- Death Priest

Kane- Vyvyan- Barbarian

Fletch- Shaw Shir- Vek

The Mysterious Village

The group looked around the dilapidated crumbled ruins of an Ancient Earth Strip mall.  There were signs of habitation from the villagers that disappeared five years ago, shanty shacks set up in the parking lot, rusted cars serving as beds, etc.

Two of the 14 stores remained somewhat intact; the signs read, “adio Sha” and “arbucks”.  The group split up and decided to search around the rubble.

“Tip Toe” and Sok wandered into the “adio sha”, shifting through the rubble they made their way to the backroom.  The discovered an altar with a helmet fashioned from the skull of a bull.  “Tip Toe” and Sok ran back outside to find Vinsmoke so he could do his magic thing on it.

Bull Skull

The Helm of the Charging Bull

Vinsmoke was out in the parking lot and decided to use his abilities to sense magic.  He felt a strong magic from a crumbled brick building.  A strange wooden “T” laid on the ground and a broken sigh read, “ouse of esus Chri”.  At the western end of the area, down an Ancient Earth street another crumbled building, possibly once a town hall or community center, another sense of magic filled the air.

The two sources of magic assaulted Vinsmoke’s mind and he lost consciousness.

Medallion wandered in the crumbled buildings and found a bunch of Ancient Earth cooking spices (Shoe’s character loves to cook), including cumin, pepper, salt, garlic, and paprika (all with a d4 Usage Die).  She then started making soup for the group, especially Sok to try and cheer him up.

Coleesi wandered into the “arbucks” and found the skeleton of a barista at the counter, a name badge read, “Hi my name is Bryan M.  How can I help you?”

While in the building Coleesi found a storeroom filled with goods.  She found:

  • Dryer doors x6 (acts as a small shield)
  • Exoskeleton armor (heavy, 3 RP)
  • Lantern
  • Oil x10
  • Shovel
  • Rope (50′)
  • Arrows (1d10)
  • Short spear (metal) x2
  • Short sword (bone) x2
  • Maul, two-handed (metal) x1
  • 1d100+10 Ceramic coins (green for Tygham the Fearless, ruler of the Swamps)
  • 1d20 gold clay coins (Int roll to know this comes from Skullator the Deathless, ruler of the East.

The group divided up the spoils.

Aside: When the group split up, I stated that all their searching and shit would take place over an hour.  

The group all met back outside, Vinsmoke regaining consciousness and wiping a small amount of blood from his nose.  Medallion bringing large pot of ramen noodles.

As the sunset (it’s 6PM after all), a blast of black and grey energy and white light is seen from the rubble of the church.  The group is scared by this display of magic and
“Tip Toe” grabbed Vinsmoke, “Come with me!  There’s a helmet in this place and I wanna know what it is!  That magic over there- fuck that shit!”

All the group decided to join the two.  As “Tip Toe” and Vinsmoke got close to the building, the hair on Coleesi’s neck stood on end and she heard the soft moans of something nearby.  Suddenly sounds, almost like Velcro slowly being pulled apart, met their ears.  Only Coleesi saw three shades appearing on the ground and move slowly towards their prey.

One went after “Tip Toe”, another after Vinsmoke, and the third after Coleesi.

Shade Monster

This fight was really fun and jarred them a little bit.  They started getting smacked and when I said, “you lose 100 XP” they freaked and the fight became that much more tense.  Vinsmoke was dropped during the fight, but with the use of a healing salve, he was saved.

Shade Apparition

HD 2; RP 1; Claws (2d4 damage), SV 6

Description: Wispy humanoid creature that moans and hates you.

Special: Ethereal: Half damage except from magic.

Draining Attack: 1st attack- save or stunned for 1 round.

2nd attack- Save or stunned for 1d4 rounds.

3rd attack- Lose 100 XP

4th attack+- Lose 100 XP and stunned for 1 round.

* If the Shade critically succeeds skip to the next attack level.

Dark Fog: Release a rancid smelling fog in a 15’ radius.  All attacks against Shade are made with Disadvantage as is dodging their attacks.  Last 1 round.  Can do this once per hour.

The group went into the “adio Sha” and Vinsmoke used his remaining magic to identify the bull skull helmet.

Helmet of the Charging Bull: The wearer can charge at a target as a full action.  The wearer rolls a STR test with Disadvantage.  If successful, they roll 2d10 damage.

The group decided to go to the end of the street where Vinsmoke sensed the other indication of magic (they wanted to give the church and the grey and black lights a wide berth).

 

As the group got closer to the ruins of the building they saw a figure wearing darkened leather armor slumped against the wall.  A sword near the figure’s right hand, a shield near the left.

Aside: Coly had her character in the lead. I asked her what she did.  She asked if there was a rock nearby and if she was allowed to throw it to see if it did anything.  Coley is relatively new to RPGing, having done it a total of four times (I think).  I said “Fuck yeah you can do that!  OSR shit right there, peeps!  Dove right in like a champion!”

Coleesi threw a rock, but it went right and dinged off the wall to no effect.   Feeling nothing as going to happen, the group moved forward.  The moment they stepped into the ruined structure a ring purple light filled the area and flashed bright.  The figure lifted his head, his eyes glowing red.  His face desiccated and rotten.  The group watched frozen as the figure stood up and pointed at them, “SUFFER WITH ME!!!”

The Black Plot

SUUUUUFFFFFEEEERRRR!!!!

This fight was fun and tough.  The undead Barbarian called lighting down onto his blade and started hacking away at group, eventually shooting lighting at his blade at several of them (I think one person went unconscious, but can’t remember).

 

Vinsmoke used a powerful spell to attempt to blow the arms of the undead Barbarian off, he blew the shield arm off at the elbow, but the sword arm remained intact.

After several seconds of fighting, the cursed Barbarian was slain.  As he fell a faint “thank  you” issued from his mouth.  When the dust settled, the group quickly looted his body.

They got a shield (absorbs two blows), the Lightning Blade, and a Teleporter Bracelet.

The Lighting Blade: One-handed broadsword- call lighting to the blade (as a movement action).  Increases the damage of the blade by 1 die.  Can release the lighting at a target within 30′.  Make a DEX roll to hit.  If successful, deal 2d6 damage to target.  The target must save or be stunned for 1 round.  Can do this twice per day.

Teleporter Bracelet: This piece Stupendous Science allows the wearer to teleport up to 100′ away once per day.

 

The session ended with the group shifting through the rubble of the old church, finding the Dark Orb, and then setting off back to Mardi Grass

Next Time: Will the group make it back safely to Mardi Grass?  Will they be able to place the Dark Orb into the hands of the Luminescent Mother?  Find out next time on another adventure of:BotRE Logo!


The Armadite Race for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth

With Matt Hildebrand and myself hard at work on the preliminary layout of Barbarians of the Ruined Earth (cover art here), I’ve started writing a supplement for the book (as this will take time to do).  I’ll have some new races, house rules, monsters, Sorcerer-fiends, packed into this baddy!

The first one that I wanted to do was an insect-type creature.  I always dug the Kreen  in Dark Sun and wanted to do something in that vein.  However, I didn’t want to do a beetle or a praying mantis, because those are in so many different RPG books, so what to do…?  I know…  An anthropomorphic roly-poly!

Here it is, enjoy!

Roly poly

Awwww… Look at how cute it is!!

 

ARMADITE

Armadites are the result of a Stupendous Science accident involving a broken canister of secret ooze and a colony of pill bugs.  These cute little roly-pollys grew into 7’ anthropomorphic creatures.  As the ages passed, the creatures named themselves Armadites, honoring their scientific Ancient Earth heritage and developed a proud warrior shamanistic culture.  Armadites paint their carapace with intricate symbols (some taken from Ancient Earth pop culture or commercials) and revere Terramancers (pg XX).

“Predators seek us, yet we stand resolute.  Raiders attack and we show our resolve. We flow with the wind, move with the earth, and our rage burns like fire.  Our spears are sharp, our armor thick, and our people proud.”

Starting HP: 1d8+4

Hit Points Per Level/Resting: 1d8 HP/lvl

Weapon and Armor: All Shields, Clubs, Swords, Maces, Spears, Axes, and Bows.

Weapon Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or Improvised

SPECIAL FEATURES

Armored: Armadites have thick chitin armor which gives them hearty protection in combat.  They have 2 RP.

The armor on their back is somewhat thicker, meaning they do not suffer extra damage from sneak/back attacks.

Four-Armed Fighter: Armadites have four arms, they can hold several weapons (or objects) at one time.  They can hold up to four one-handed weapons, two small shields, two two-handed weapons, or a mix of all three.  Large shields are too bulky to hold two at once.

An Armadite can make two attacks per round with ease.

If the Armadite is wielding four one-handed melee weapons they attack with a flurry of four blows against one (or two) targets.  All four attacks are made with Disadvantage.

Rolling Attack: As an invertebrate, Armadites can fold in on themselves, becoming a sphere of their tough chitin armor.  While in this state Armadites can attempt to roll over a target, dealing damage.  They must succeed a Dexterity roll.  If successful, the attack deals 1d10 damage.

While in this form, the Armadite can decide to absorb the damage of a single attack as if a shield were equipped (BotRE, pg XX), but it immediately pops the Armadite out of their ball and they must succeed a WIS save or be stunned for 1 round.

Antenna: The antenna of the Armadite is very sensitive and allows them to detect vibrations.  They make any test against detecting ambushes or hidden foes with Advantage.

Multi-legged: The Armadite can get on all its legs and travel faster than normal, moving up to Not-so-Nearby on their movement or Far Away if they move twice.  Up to two medium sized humanoids can ride on the back of an Armadite.

Leveling Up:

Roll all Attributes to see if they increase, roll twice for STR or DEX

STARTING EQUIPMENT

CHOOSE TWO*: Short spear, short bow, short sword, two-handed sword, axe, mace, or spiked club

ARMOR: None.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS: Ammo for ranged weapon if taken, rations (d6), waterskin (d6), bedroll, torches x6 (d6), and healing salve (1 HD of HP restored).

*All starting weapons are made of wood, bone, or stone. For each weapon, there is a 15% chance it is made of metal (i.e., the arrowheads, the sword blade, etc.).

INTERESTING TRINKET (roll 1d6): 1) A headdress of leather and antlers worn by a kind Ecomancer; 2) A box of Ancient Earth acrylic paints (they are still good!); 3) A leather saddle that fits your back; 4) An Ancient Earth Civil War saber; 5) A gorgeous set of Ancient Earth Russian Dolls; 6) A box of fire crackers (1d8 Usage Die)

LIFE EVENT (roll 1d8): 1) You were a slave and escaped; 2) You were destined to be chief of your village, but were driven out by a rival; 3) Pig Raiders wiped out your village; 4) You encountered a Cosmic Being (choose one, pg XX) and hear its desires; 5) You killed a skilled warrior in a warring Armadite tribe; 6) You were part of a scouting party that helped find your tribes current home; 7) You glimpsed the Horrible Bear Monster (BotRE, pg XX) and lived to tell the tale.  Many of your hunting party weren’t so lucky; 8) Your brood mother was killed and taken in a Vulturefolk (BotRE, pg XX) attack.


Barbarians of the Ruined Earth Campaign Kickoff- World Building

barbarians statue colours 150dpi 554x800

Art for BotRE- by Kelvin Green

My online group and I have decided we wanted to take a break from Death is the New Pink: Going Medieval on Yo’ Ass and play some Barbarians of the Ruined Earth.

We played for a few months back and moved to GMoYA, but now with the book in the beginning parts of layout (being done by the awesome and sexy Matt Hildebrand), I’ve really been craving the heroic science, sword, and sorcery vibe again (it also doesn’t help I’ve started rewatching all of Thundarr the Barbarian AGAIN).

A few weeks ago I bought a Nintendo Switch and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and was inspired by how open the world is (and approachable) and wanted to capture that with this BotRE campaign (I may have to do a post on BotW and lessons/takeaways for tabletop gaming…).

When you first start BotW, Link runs up to an expansive vista, showing the beautiful world.  Everything you see you can travel to.  That is exciting and is a perfect example of show, don’t tell.  I want to avoid info dumps…  We play once to twice a month and sometimes info gets lost, forgotten, etc. and that’s wasted effort on my part.

I decided that I would take a page from Beyond the Wall‘s Further Afield and do some fun and exciting collaborative world building with my group.  I figured this would be as close to show, don’t tell as I could get for a campaign kick off.

Only three of my six players could make the session on Sunday, but we came up with some great ideas and I’ve sent the info to the three who couldn’t make it to give them a chance to create a few things.

First I asked each of my players what state this was taking place in.  After each pitched their idea, they talked and decided on New Orleans, super swamps, mutated rednecks, etc.

Then we rolled characters.  John is a Sorcerer (alternate spell casting rules here), Liam is a Death Priest, and Fletch created a Vek (raptor people).

Sorcerer

Sorcerer Art for BotRE by Matthew Adams

 

Barbarians of the Ruined Earth- Death Priest

Death Priest Art for BotRE by Matthew Adams

 

After the group made their characters I had them each create two interesting NPCs that they have each developed a bond with and what that NPC does.  I’ll roll some secret stuff about them that the players will discover (i.e., ar they in a cult, selling people to raiders/slavers, do they have perpetual RBF, etc.).

After each group created their NPCs, I had them roll on a table that I lifted (and only altered slightly) from Further Afield to generate an interesting thing nearby their village.  Each of my three players did this twice.

Roll 1d8: 1) Major city; 2) Ancient ruins; 3) Human settlement; 4) Recent ruins; 5) Inhuman settlement (roll 1d3: 1) Vek; 2) Beastman; 3) GM Chooses from bestiary); 6) Monster’s Lair; 7) Source of power; 8) Interesting location (i.e., mushroom forest, natural canyons, etc.)

With these, I’ll roll to see how accurate what they came up with is.  Is it true, is there a twist to this location, or are they WAY off base.

Finally I had each of my three players come up with a descriptive term or phrase that would guide me in the creation of the town leader.  I told them that if it something was too off base with another descriptive term, we would discuss until we got to a happy medium/compromise.  Thankfully that didn’t happen at all.

The members of the group that made it to the session start with a magic item/piece of Stupendous Science.

The three players that didn’t make it will make their characters when they play, but I am allowing them to create a single interesting location (I rolled for what it is) and a NPC.  The town and leader are already determined.

Here is what the group came up with.  Once I get the entries from my other three players, I will do all my rolls and map out the village, layout the surrounding locations, and add a few myself.

Environment

New Orleans- Humid, swampy, mutated rednecks.

 

Settlement
“Mardi Grass”:
Semi-floating landmass of junk and soil/silt.  Just slightly outside of New Orleans.

 

Town Mayor

Kane: Kane is known for his rambunctious spirit and ability to fight (Barbarian, 2nd level).  He has defended Mardi Grass many times.  He always carries his prized spear, The Man-Splitter- a remarkable piece of Stupendous Science with an electrified, motorized blade.  Kane constant rubs himself with baby lotion to keep his skin moist and shiny.  He has a collection of Ancient Earth action movies and a working entertainment center.  He is obsessed with Chuck Norris and John McClain.

Interesting People

Cobb: A gardener who has some sort of innate magical abilities, but not a sorcerer (John).

Mama Cleo: A voodoo priestess who can speak with spirits and create strange alchemical concoctions.

Birch: Owns/runs the general store.  Became mutated early in life and has gills and webbed hands and feet (Fletch).

Nomi: Guard of Mardi Grass.  Decent fighter.  Escaped mines with group (John).

The Undertaker: Undertaker of Mardi Grass.  Scrawny and lanky.  Androgynous (Liam).

Jean: Junk dealer.  He is mad as a hatter, but smart and ornery (Fletch).

Nearby Locations

Monster Lair: Vicious and savage frog-dog creatures lurk in rudimentary huts (John).

Settlement: Strange Ones (sky blue skin and bulbous heads) inhabit an abandoned Ancient Earth television station.  They worship Ancient Earth technology (Fletch).

Source of Power: Giant undead rats run endlessly on hamster wheels to generate electricity (Liam).  Rumored to be created by Tygham the Fearless, the Sorcerer of the Swamps.

Crystal Towers: These crystalline towers are made of soft gems (ruby, etc.) and attract large beetles, the size of dogs, which feast on the structures (Fletch).

Lair of the Croconator: Massive crocodile monster that lurks in the swamps.  A few days travel from Mardi Grass (John).

The Ruins of Bourbon St: Mostly underwater.  Aquatic people live here.  Underwater ruins and avenues exist (Fletch).

Magic Items

Liam: Liam has a teddy bear named Balfour, which he found on the mummified remains of a small girl from Ancient Earth- The girl’s name is Maggie and acts as a spirit guide. Liam can speak to her as spirit (Death Priest ability) or increase Luck range from 4-6 to 3-6 once per day.

John: John has an attack drone that looks like a sphere with a giant lightbulb eye.  The drone hovers around him and attacks a target designated by John.  6HP, 1 RP, 1d6 damage, uses John’s stats to attack.

Fletch: Fletch has a shield that can be activated to absorb damage.  When turned on, roll 2d4.  That is how much damage it will absorb.  Once depleted, deactivates and take damage as normal.  Recharges when the sun rises.